Collaboration and experimentation are key to building a privacy-focused online advertising ecosystem

The future of the Internet depends above all on confidentiality. And making it work for everyone (users, advertisers, and publishers) will take experimentation and collaboration.

This emerged as the key theme of the webinar “How Advertisers and Publishers Can Thrive in an IDless Future”, hosted by The Drum and Nano Interactive. The session featured Tina Lakhani, head of adtech, IAB UK; El Kanagavel, General Manager of Performance Technology, Dentsu; and Carl White, CEO and co-founder of Nano Interactive. They discussed the forces behind Google’s decision to downgrade the third-party cookie in its Chrome browser, the alternative approaches that are emerging, and the challenges the online advertising industry faces in providing the desired environment. by users and that advertisers need.

To watch the full webinar “How Advertisers and Publishers Can Thrive in an IDless Future”Click on here.

The main takeaways from the event were:

  • The future will be to stitch together some or all of the remaining and emerging targeting technologies – first-party cookies, anonymized first-party identifiers, cohorts and contextual targeting – to meet the needs of different brands, contexts and audience types.

  • The disappearance of the third-party cookie is an opportunity to build something better.

  • Resolving measurement issues is critical and will only happen if industry works together.

  • Brands and publishers need to adopt a “test and learn” mindset to find what works for them.

Three-way separation

IAB’s Lakhani described the future internet as being divided into three parts, each requiring a different approach to targeting.

“There are going to be environments where you have first-party data, where your audience is completely identifiable and completely addressable in the same way as with cookies. And all the capabilities that we’ve had with cookies will continue in those environments,” she said.

“Then there will be just the opposite; environments where the consumer is totally anonymous. In these cases, you will have to use solutions like contextual targeting. And then there will be in-between areas where there will be some level of transparency on the consumer, but maybe more at the group level, and in those cases we can look at solutions like cohorts. Ultimately, therefore, advertisers need to consider a portfolio of solutions. »

Lakhani also pointed out that for a time audiences that were not addressable were considered worthless. The rise of sophisticated contextual targeting, she said, overturns that idea.

White discussed this in more detail.

“We’re looking at it from a live data perspective versus historical data. Getting scale and addressability, when you’re not identifying an individual user in any way, becomes a matter of how quickly you can identify the sentiment or tone of the online environment the person is in,” he said.

“Advances in machine learning and artificial intelligence are opening up a whole new realm there. Then we want as much live information as possible, for example what someone may have been researching, in order to understand what mood he’s likely to be in and how he feels about that particular topic category, and once you’re able to do that, addressability becomes possible.

Building back better

The three panelists pointed out that although the third-party cookie has been the cornerstone of online advertising for 27 years, it has never been a perfect solution. Dentsu’s Kanagavel noted that advertisers see the current situation as an opportunity to rethink their approach.

“There is general recognition that there has been an over-focus on very short-term KPIs, due to the perceived accuracy of cookie-based measurement,” he said. “We now have the opportunity to reassess what we are trying to generate from different media channels, and what the right KPIs are. The solutions that are emerging are really effective, and there is a way forward from a measurement perspective, even if it requires a lot of collaboration across the business. »

Let’s work together

All three agreed that collaboration will be vital across the industry, as well as individual businesses.

Kanagavel summed it up: “Embracing a test-and-learn culture is a big change, and it’s sometimes hard for organizations to do. The key is to break down silos, work with legal teams, marketing teams, client teams, technology teams in your organization, and then with external partners, where you need them, for data sharing. Being able to do all of this correctly is really difficult. But brands or publishers that do it well will have a huge competitive advantage at their disposal. »

For more on the issues with the privacy-driven internet, see The Drum/Nano Interactive report “Leaving no trace: the future of online advertising without identifiers” can be downloaded here.